This project focuses on sensitising vulnerable communities to the adverse impact of climate change on peace and security in Beledweyne District.
Timeframe: 2021 - 2022
With the increasing variability of climate conditions, such as erratic rainfall patterns, destructive floods and dangerously prolonged dry seasons, communities in Hirshabelle State are facing worsening environmental pressures along with already prevalent insecurity. These threats complicate the way communities are able to address conflict – with far-reaching implications for the overall security across the region. This UNDP-funded pilot project acknowledges the impact of climate change as an immediate stress factor in conflict-prone societies and aims to support the communities of Beledweyne to develop a plan to respond to the most urgent and critical security threats posed by the effects of climate change in their district. The project builds on existing peacebuilding capacities developed through the engagement of the Berghof Foundation in Hirshabelle State by including climate security into the work of the Hirshabelle Insider Peacebuilders Network (IPN) in Beledweyne.
This project will mainstream climate security into the community peacebuilding initiatives of the IPN in Beledweyne through an initial training conducted by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). This will allow the IPN members to understand the role that climate change and environmental degradation play in exacerbating conflict and how they affect people’s livelihoods. The IPN members will then carry out community consultations to identify and understand climate-related security risks in and around the city. These community consultations will increase the technical knowledge about the effects of climate change in Beledweyne, which will enable the co-designing of a participatory “Climate Security Action Plan” with the local citizens. The Action Plan will include measures that will directly respond to the most urgent security threats posed by climate-related impacts at the local level, while incorporating support for local conflict resolution mechanisms.
Developing peacebuilding approaches that are inclusive and complement the experiences of the local communities are imperative to building sustainable peace. Thus, the Berghof Foundation will organise inclusive community dialogues that will act as verification forums for the Action Plan before piloting the concrete initiatives to address climate-related security threats. This last stage of the project will see the implementation of these initiatives in the community of Beledweyne.
Somalia has a long history of conflicts that have at their core clan rivalry, resource scarcity, religious extremism and a lack of dealing with the past. The prolonged absence of political stability, economic opportunities, social services and communal security have created a vulnerable context in which communities find themselves exposed and defenseless to the intensifying risks of a changing climate. In this setting, communities experience the devastating effects of decreasing access to water and arable landscapes, along with their adverse impacts on the livelihoods of people and their ability to prevent and resolve conflict peacefully.
Somalia is one of the countries most affected by the long-term effects of global warming, which is already complicating people's lives. Especially in Beledweyne district, severe flooding and frequent droughts undermine both food and livelihood security and damage the overall living conditions of the entire community. The growing pressure to deal with an increasingly harsh environment poses a threat as it fuels existing tensions and grievances, exacerbates vulnerabilities and marginalisation, fosters involuntary displacement and adds to the competition over presumably scarce resources. For the people of Beledweyne experiencing such conditions, leaving these factors unaddressed (and unmanaged) may result in short-term, both socially as well as environmentally disruptive coping strategies. This includes a heightened risk for violent conflict. Hence, there is a need in Somalia to address preventive climate adaption and sustainable conflict transformation together. This project combines these approaches by centralizing climate security on a community level and encouraging a climate-sensitive approach to conflict transformation and peacebuilding.
The Berghof Foundation has established and capacitated a well-integrated network of local peacebuilders that are active and engaged in community-based peacebuilding throughout Hirshabelle. In the district of Beledweyne, the Berghof Foundation currently works closely with 13 highly-trained IPN members who are respected in the district and have influence and authority within their communities. This collaboration between the Berghof Foundation and the peacebuilders of Beledweyne stands on a mutual footing and enables us to leverage opportunities to address the climate security nexus through a community-owned and guided process.
Partners and Funding
The Berghof Foundation works closely with the Hirshabelle Insider Peacebuilders Network in Beledweyne and partners with the Hirshabelle Ministry of Reconciliation.
The project is generously funded by the United Nations Development Programme.
Climate Security Training
The engagement will begin with a 2-day workshop with the members of the IPN in Beledweyne on the topic of climate security, carried out by representatives of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). In the workshop, we will demonstrate the impact that climate change is already having on the landscape in Somalia and its effects on people, their livelihoods, and conflict across the country. The participants will discuss possible adaptation and preventative measures and in general become more familiar with the concepts of climate change and environmental degradation. This workshop will prepare the members of the IPN conceptually for the remaining activities of the project in which they will play a large role.
The second activity is the in-depth community consultations that will be carried out in the form of 15 focus group discussions (FGDs) in Beledweyne District organized according to age, gender, profession and community. The FGDs will collect information on the effects of climate change on the communities in Beledweyne and how these effects exacerbate conflicts in their region. The questions will address climate pressures and shocks, the vulnerabilities of Beledweyne’s communities to these shocks, competition around natural resources and the effect of climate change on this competition. It will also address livelihood insecurities and how this relates to climate change and environmental degradation. The detailed information and input gathered from the community participants during these focus group discussions will then be analysed and developed into a Climate Security Action Plan by the IPN members and the Berghof team.
The third activity is the validation forums, which will allow the locally-informed Climate Security Action Plan to be presented to and discussed by all of the individuals who took part in the FGDs and more broadly in the community. These forums will act as a way to have the different communities in Beledweyne discuss and debate the action plan that was developed based on the data gathered at the FGDs. The forums are an opportunity for the community to suggest revisions and changes to the plan, as well as to decide who can play an active role in the implementation of the plan and how.
Implementation of the Climate Security Action Plan
The last activity is the implementation of the climate security action plan itself. This includes the piloting of identified individual activities and measures by the IPN and the people of Beledweyne. Each activity will be founded on ideas developed by the community members and integrated into the action plan.
Junior Project Manager
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